Christian Long

Matthew Childs: 9 Rules of Rock Climbing

In TED Talks on April 11, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Reflection by KEITH C.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Matthew Childs:  9 Rules of Rock Climbing

These video obviously does not strictly apply to rock climbing. Many life lessons can be associated with Matthew’s 9 principles.

The first rule that Matthew discusses is “Don’t let go”. This rule has can sometimes be very hard to follow considering the circumstances. Sometimes the situations that we are put in make us want to take the easy way out and just give. A major characteristic of someone is there drive to work as hard as they can till they reach their goal. whether it be taking a difficult Ap class or learning a new sport. Using goals can be very advantages when trying to avoid rule number one. Once you have a goal, you have something to work for. Setting goals also makes completing the task seem more practical. Most of the time people that set goals end up going farther than they ever thought.

The next lesson that Matthew talks about is “Hesitation is bad”. This principle goes hand in had with the first one. Was you get started and are on a role with whatever your project is, don’t stop. Hesitation can threaten your entire goal. Once you have momentum and are confident in what you are doing, stopping can break your concentration and will. When you have the momentum keep going strong till the race is over.

Lesson number three is “Have a plan“. This technique can be very useful before going into any situation. Having a plan prepares you for what is to come and how to handle different outcomes. When you have a plan you have a better since of your intentions than you would if you just decided to ‘wing-it’. Not having a plan can be distract you from reaching your goal.

The Fourth life lesson that Matthew teaches is “The move is the end.” This reminds me of situations where people are overwhelmed with the task that has been presented to them and are so worried about just completing and make stupid mistakes. I think that Matthew would agree that it is imperative to completely finish each individual step before you rush your way to the end. Whether it be taking math test or climbing a mountain, the outcome will always be more thorough if you follow this lesson.

“Know how to rest” is the next lesson Matthew has learned from rock climbing. This lesson may seem to contradict lesson two, but it is all in the timing. Hesitation refers to a situation where it would be at your disadvantage to stop, and resting is when it is safe and you just need some time to recuperate. Another way to put it would be to say, set back for a moment and gather your thoughts and feeling before you make any harsh decisions that you will regret.

Matthew’s sixth principle is “Fear sucks.” Matthew describes fear as focus on the consequences of failing at whatever you are doing, and not  concentrating on reaching the your goal. Optimism is the ideal attitude when striving to accomplish your goals. Negative thoughts will always make a task seem more severe than it actually is. When you are optimistic you can direct more of your concentration to finishing whatever you are working on. When you have negative thought your mind is wrapped around what go wrong and what is going to happen.

Rule number seven, “Opposites are good”, explains how attempting something in a new way or fashion that has not been normally done is not bad. Following the crowd is not always the best thing to do. This rule  makes me think of all the famous people who made history with their unique way of doing what had not been done before. For example, Dick Fosbury, from Oregon State University, revolutionized how high jumpers went about getting over the pole. Before then it had always been done a different way. Fosbury’s technique was to jump over the bar head and shoulders first with his back to the bar. This method became so effective that that he won gold in high jump at the 1968 Olympics with his ‘Fosbury flop’. New ideas like this is what progresses humanity.

In rule number eight, “Strength does not equal successes”, Matthew describes the importance of balance and keeping your weight on your feet. He talks about how he had encountered men that thought that doing pull ups and gaining strength was the most important aspect of climbing.

The ninth lesson is, “Know how to let go”. Matthew talks about how it is important to know to fall to inflict the least amount of damage once you have made a mistake. When you get caught in a situation where you know you are going to ‘fall’, fall as softly as you can. Whether it be an argument with a friend or your caught doing something you shouldn’t, don’t do anything that would cause the situation the grow worse or be blown out of proportion.


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